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Discussion on the SAAF and other southern African air forces.
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PostPosted: 26 Jan 2020, 08:36 
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Pre 1994 history will be addressed in sub-themes.

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PostPosted: 27 Jan 2020, 13:12 
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:roll: #-o

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PostPosted: 27 Jan 2020, 16:30 
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The SAAF is in a very difficult position, torn between its political masters (the SANDF is, of course, subservient to the President and the ruling party of the day) and the professional airman.

By not stating "100" or "25/26" years, the SAAF is possibly trying to find the middle ground by not antagonising the politician or the veteran. I believe that the entire history of the SAAF, both pre- and post-1994 will be explored and recognised as sub-themes.

Yes, the logo is uninspiring, but it could be worse. The SAAF does acknowledge the past and we should wait to hear the Chief of the Airforce's speech this Friday morning at the Prestige Day event.

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PostPosted: 27 Jan 2020, 17:09 
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Post the speech if you can Dean...

Won't be able to make the flypast.


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PostPosted: 28 Jan 2020, 16:21 
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SAAF 100 picking up criticism
https://www.defenceweb.co.za/aerospace/aerospace-aerospace/saaf-100-picking-up-criticism/


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PostPosted: 29 Jan 2020, 01:18 
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Crock of impacted fecal matter if you ask me. If it wasn't for the previous 75 years, there would be nothing post-1994 to celebrate.

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PostPosted: 29 Jan 2020, 10:33 
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The SAAF will probably be the first and last Air Force in the world not too officially celebrated its 100th anniversary.

The real question though is who is the unnamed “powers that be" that are dictating to the SAAF what they can and can't celebrate?
The darker question is, who is really in control then of the military?

If it was coming from the the SANDF directly that's one thing, but if its coming from external influences then that's a bit rich to say that 2020 will be a celebration of democracy.

Having said that it does at least appear the SAAF is trying its best under the circumstances. So far Gripen, PC7MKii's, Lynx and C47TP have been spotted around FASK and FAWK for Friday's events.


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PostPosted: 29 Jan 2020, 12:22 
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Mars wrote:
The SAAF will probably be the first and last Air Force in the world not too officially celebrated its 100th anniversary.

No, other air forces have voluntarily cut off part of their history too. The reasoning is that the 'new' organisation will have a centenary of its own someday.

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The real question though is who is the unnamed “powers that be" that are dictating to the SAAF what they can and can't celebrate?
The darker question is, who is really in control then of the military?

Reading between the lines, a combination of the SANDF's senior command and Cabinet. Both are legally & politically entitled to dictate to the SAAF. There are also senior commanders within the SAAF who are backing the non-recognition of pre-1994 history.

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Having said that it does at least appear the SAAF is trying its best under the circumstances. So far Gripen, PC7MKii's, Lynx and C47TP have been spotted around FASK and FAWK for Friday's events.

Yes. I think the CAF's heart is in the right place, I believe he has asked for as big an event as possible.


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PostPosted: 29 Jan 2020, 13:09 
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Darren wrote:
Mars wrote:
The SAAF will probably be the first and last Air Force in the world not too officially celebrated its 100th anniversary.

No, other air forces have voluntarily cut off part of their history too. The reasoning is that the 'new' organisation will have a centenary of its own someday.


Hi Darren

Specifically which other Air Forces have chosen not to celebrate their 100th Anniversary?

Darren wrote:
Quote:
The real question though is who is the unnamed “powers that be" that are dictating to the SAAF what they can and can't celebrate?
The darker question is, who is really in control then of the military?

Reading between the lines, a combination of the SANDF's senior command and Cabinet. Both are legally & politically entitled to dictate to the SAAF. There are also senior commanders within the SAAF who are backing the non-recognition of pre-1994 history.


The question is about transparency, disclosure and accountability, who exactly made the final decision SAAF, SANDF, Government, ruling party?
Why not state the names and provide the reasoning?
If the logic stands it stands, no need for secrecy.


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PostPosted: 29 Jan 2020, 13:50 
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Mars wrote:
Hi Darren

Specifically which other Air Forces have chosen not to celebrate their 100th Anniversary?

The German Air Force explicitly renounced any organisational continuity with its predecessors when it reformed in 1956. When the East German Air Force was absorbed into the German Air Force at the end of the Cold War, it was decided to have zero continuity either and abandon any related LSK history. Similarly the Austrian Air Force regards its post-1955 organisation as being separate in terms of continuity from the one that was disbanded during the Anschluss.

The PLA Air Force dates its founding to 1949, rejecting continuity with its predecessor the Republic of China Air Force. Which is now the air force of Taiwan. It's rather odd.

Zimbabwe's Air Force does not recognise any Rhodesian Air Force history, so it considers itself only 40 years old rather than 81 years old.

There are also examples of countries choosing entirely different mechanisms for recognising the age of their air forces, by foregoing the idea of it needing to be an independent air arm with a continuous existence and just ascribing all military aviation history to it. This is the approach taken by the Russian and Swiss air forces (amongst others) who celebrated their respective centenaries as far back as 2012, even though that means they're counting army aviation units, periods of non-existence, and organisational splits. Were South Africa to adopt the same approach, we'd include the SAAC which was founded in 1915.


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The question is about transparency, disclosure and accountability, who exactly made the final decision SAAF, SANDF, Government, ruling party?
Why not state the names and provide the reasoning?
If the logic stands it stands, no need for secrecy.

I could not agree more. A decision this far-reaching and important should not have been made in secret behind closed doors. It should be openly debated in public, with input requested from historians and the rest of civil society.

I'm furious at the way this has been handled. Having reasonable doubts about whether to commemorate pre-1994 history is something I can understand, but simply deciding by fiat and not even bothering to explain the reasons why is unacceptable.


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PostPosted: 29 Jan 2020, 14:46 
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Darren wrote:
Mars wrote:
Hi Darren

Specifically which other Air Forces have chosen not to celebrate their 100th Anniversary?

The German Air Force explicitly renounced any organisational continuity with its predecessors when it reformed in 1956. When the East German Air Force was absorbed into the German Air Force at the end of the Cold War, it was decided to have zero continuity either and abandon any related LSK history. Similarly the Austrian Air Force regards its post-1955 organisation as being separate in terms of continuity from the one that was disbanded during the Anschluss.

The PLA Air Force dates its founding to 1949, rejecting continuity with its predecessor the Republic of China Air Force. Which is now the air force of Taiwan. It's rather odd.

Zimbabwe's Air Force does not recognise any Rhodesian Air Force history, so it considers itself only 40 years old rather than 81 years old.

There are also examples of countries choosing entirely different mechanisms for recognising the age of their air forces, by foregoing the idea of it needing to be an independent air arm with a continuous existence and just ascribing all military aviation history to it. This is the approach taken by the Russian and Swiss air forces (amongst others) who celebrated their respective centenaries as far back as 2012, even though that means they're counting army aviation units, periods of non-existence, and organisational splits. Were South Africa to adopt the same approach, we'd include the SAAC which was founded in 1915.


Continuity is a entirely different scenario.

We are working with official founding date of the Air Force so its not a age dispute. As for Zimbabwe...well :roll:

The SAAF celebrated the 75th, 80th and 95th anniversary all after 1994 under the ruling party so the argument for not celebrating 100 is weak at best. The precedent has been well established for 25 years.

The fact that in the month of the anniversary someone, somewhere decided that the centenary won't be referred to points to haphazard decision making. The logic is contradictory, regressive and unreconciliatory.

Consider that in 1995 President Nelson Mandela visited the big SAAF 75 Airshow at Waterkloof, he had his photograph taken with the Silver Falcons.


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PostPosted: 29 Jan 2020, 15:51 
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Mars wrote:
Continuity is a entirely different scenario.

We are working with official founding date of the Air Force so its not a age dispute. As for Zimbabwe...well :roll:

It's the same scenario. I'm pointing out that whether the SAAF of today considers the SAAF of pre-1994 to be the same organisation is pretty subjective by international terms, with no set standards or approaches and not even much agreement on requirements.

In other words, we can't appeal to any external authority on this, it's not an objective standard with a clear set of rules that we can refer to. We can argue for continuity and thus for recognition of the centenary, and I believe we should, but any attempt to claim that it should happen just because it feels like it's obvious will fall on deaf ears.

After all, even if we make the case that objectively speaking the SAAF has been one coherent organisation from 1920 to 2020, there's no international rule that says the SAAF or SANDF leadership are under any obligation to recognise it. We have to make the case for why it should be recognised despite the inconvenient parts of the SAAF's history.

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The SAAF celebrated the 75th, 80th and 95th anniversary all after 1994 under the ruling party so the argument for not celebrating 100 is also weak.

The fact that in the month of the anniversary someone, somewhere decided that the centenary won't be refferred to points to haphazard decision making. the logic contradictory, regressive and unreconciliatory.

Consider that in 1995 President Nelson Mandela visited the big SAAF 75 Airshow at Waterkloof, he had his photograph taken with the Silver Falcons.

Quite correct.

This is precisely why I completely disagree with the way this has been handled. Those who made the decision should have done so publicly, so that they can be asked to justify it and explain the decision, especially after a precedent had been set.


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PostPosted: 29 Jan 2020, 17:54 
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Darren wrote:
Mars wrote:
Continuity is a entirely different scenario.

We are working with official founding date of the Air Force so its not a age dispute. As for Zimbabwe...well :roll:

It's the same scenario. I'm pointing out that whether the SAAF of today considers the SAAF of pre-1994 to be the same organisation is pretty subjective by international terms, with no set standards or approaches and not even much agreement on requirements.

In other words, we can't appeal to any external authority on this, it's not an objective standard with a clear set of rules that we can refer to. We can argue for continuity and thus for recognition of the centenary, and I believe we should, but any attempt to claim that it should happen just because it feels like it's obvious will fall on deaf ears.

After all, even if we make the case that objectively speaking the SAAF has been one coherent organisation from 1920 to 2020, there's no international rule that says the SAAF or SANDF leadership are under any obligation to recognise it. We have to make the case for why it should be recognised despite the inconvenient parts of the SAAF's history.


Not sure I agree on this point, the SAAF never stopped and started; the same structures, ranks, uniforms, aircraft, Squadrons were all used. There is no subjectivity.

If this was a company we were talking about and it was registered on 1 Feb 1920, no one would or could argue the point that the company was not 100 years old.

The issue here is that SAAF is not ignoring that its a 100 years, but it is not acknowledging it either.


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PostPosted: 30 Jan 2020, 09:03 
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I have seen this image on FB a couple of times, guess if the SAAf won't do it someone else will


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PostPosted: 30 Jan 2020, 09:58 
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Image designed by Garth Calitz, wording added by Horace Block.

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